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Braves add a familiar face, sign Phil Gosselin to a minor league deal

Braves add a familiar face, sign Phil Gosselin to a minor league deal

Sunday, March 20, 2022

-Clint Manry

The guy that netted the Braves pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Touki Toussaint back in 2015, infielder Phil Gosselin is coming back home to the team that drafted him. Saturday morning it was announced that Atlanta signed Gosselin to a minor league pact as he’ll have an opportunity this spring to compete for some sort of utility role for the big league club.

Selected 164th overall (fifth round) by the Braves in the 2010 MLB Draft, the now 33-year-old Gosselin has definitely been around during his 12 seasons as a pro. After being drafted in the summer of 2010, the University of Virginia product went on to have a productive minor league tenure in Atlanta’s system, earning a late-season call-up in 2013 after hitting .254 with 19 XBH and six stolen bases in 117 games between Double-A and Triple-A. That season he got in on four games with the major league Braves, going a respectable 2 for 6 (.333) in very limited action.

Gosselin’s 2014 was even more impressive. Starting the season in Triple-A as a 25-year-old, the infielder slashed .344/.379/.487 with 39 XBH in 96 games in the minors, this time earning a promotion in time to play in 46 games in Atlanta. His big league numbers held strong again as Gosselin hit .266 with five XBH with the Braves. The Diamondbacks must’ve seen him as a solid utility option as well, because in the summer of 2015 the Braves sent Gosselin to Arizona in exchange for Arroyo and Toussaint.

Since then, Gosselin has bounced around between the D’Backs, the Pirates, Rangers and the Reds, before returning to the Braves for a brief period in 2018. Since the 2019 season, he has mostly kept himself in the majors, playing with the Phillies and Angels in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Last year Gosselin hit .261 with seven home runs and 14 doubles in 104 games with the Halos, which was actually one of his best performances in years. For his career, Gosselin’s highlight campaign is still that 2016 season with the D’Backs, in which he hit .277 with 15 XBH in 122 games — a career-high for him in terms of major league games played.

In terms of his chances of actually making the big league team this spring, Gosselin’s odds don’t look half bad. Former utility-type infielders Ehire Adrianza and Charlie Culberson are no longer with the team, leaving his competition pretty light. In terms of 40-man back-up infielders, only shortstop Orlando Arcia sits in his way, with guys like Ryan Goins, John Nogowski, Yariel Gonzalez and Jordan Cowan as the other non-roster spring invites. Both Braden Shewmake and Vaughn Grissom are currently on the spring training roster, but the former will likely start the year with Triple-A Gwinnett, and the latter is looking at a possible High-A Rome assignment to begin 2022.

I like the signing, and if Gosselin can keep up the above-average contact he should have a solid chance at opening the season as either a bench player or a viable depth piece down in Gwinnett.

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